Fund crisis would force the expert team to abandon excavation activities at the ancient archaeological site at Bikrampur in Munshiganj, members of the excavation team said.
The excavation team has decided to stop their work on the project by June 30 due to fund shortage and high price of land in the area, said the project’s assistant director, Morshed Raihan.
The excavation was being carried out by Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation and assisted by Jahangirnagar University archaeology department and Aitijhya Anweshan, a non-government organisation, and financed by the cultural ministry.
Agrasar Bikrampur Foundation executive director Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin, also the publicity secretary of ruling Awami League, said they had started the work with their own funds and later the cultural ministry allocated Tk 30 lakh for the project. ‘But such a work needs big and regular allocation of funds each year.’
The excavation project director Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, also a teacher of Jahangirnagar University archaeology department, said they would need equipment worth Tk one crore for ground penetrating radar surveys that can detect subsurface features without drilling, probing, or digging.
A recent photograph shows an excavation team scrapes dirt from a regular structure of Bikrampur ruins at village Raghurampur under Sadar upazila in Munshiganj. — New Age photo
The team, however, ended its operation with successfully digging out a portion of regular brick structure and some broken stepped basalt [a kind of black stone].
Mostafizur Rahman said the bricks recovered could be of pre-medieval period.
He said Bikrampur was the capital of four pre-medieval and medieval period dynasties — Chandra, Barma, Sen and Dev.
‘Though historians think the ancient capital was destroyed and washed away by the rivers Padma and Dhaleshwary, there is a possibility of finding its ruins under the earth,’ he said, adding that they were trying to unearth the facts of the glorious history of Bengal.
‘We have carried out excavations at Rampal and Bazrajogini unions under Sadar upazila in Munshiganj and have dug nine trenches at villages Sukhabaspur, Raghurampur, Bazrajogini, Guhapara and Khanka,’ he said while talking to reporters at a briefing at Munshiganj Youth Development Centre last Friday.
The excavation team also took the reporters to the sites where they dug the trenches and showed their findings.
The Bazrajogini trench measuring 4 metre deep, near Dewanbari, shows three layers of bricks and stones that could be sings of human habitation in the area in three different periods. A black basalt stone, measuring about 1×0.5×0.2 metres, was also found by a pond near this trench.
‘The age of the stones and pottery shreds could be confirmed through carbon-14 dating,’ said Morshed Raihan.
He also said, ‘While digging, sometimes we felt like hopeless but later we got back out enthusiasm. We found a layer of a slab of concrete-like substances after digging 4 metres deep at Bazrajogini-3 trench. The students of Jahangirnagar University were with us in that sweating task.’
The Raghurampur-2 trench showed part of a T-shaped brick-made wall, 5-metre long and 1.45 metre wide. Clay was used as mortar between bricks, he said.
The excavation project assistant director, Shamima Akhter, said their next task would be to categorise the artefacts they found in this year’s dig and about 79 idols that were in different museums across the country.
‘We are also collecting the pottery shreds and burnt clay images that the local people found during digging for household purposes earlier,’ she said.